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Open Thread 13-26 March

by Bjinse Mon Mar 13th, 2017 at 09:05:40 PM EST

He was going to thread forever, or die in the attempt

. To Kill A Mockingbiird 0%
. Wuthering Heights 0%
. The Grapes of Wrath 0%
. Catch-22 66%
. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 0%
. Lord of the Flies 0%
. Slaughterhouse-Five 33%
. Dude. You just wish you could made that up 0%

Votes: 3
Results | Other Polls
by generic on Wed Mar 15th, 2017 at 12:20:01 PM EST
Are any of you people going to be in Rome on the weekend of the 25th?

Just asking.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 15th, 2017 at 11:31:38 PM EST


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Mar 17th, 2017 at 08:17:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, no.

If anyone is going, I hope for a report.

by fjallstrom on Fri Mar 17th, 2017 at 04:21:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Fri Mar 17th, 2017 at 01:07:57 PM EST
by generic on Fri Mar 17th, 2017 at 01:17:14 PM EST
An interesting profile of the Mercers, detailing their role in the Trump Campaign, is up on HuPO's Highline.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2017 at 05:56:54 PM EST
Interesting sleuthing on a topic which I had missed, suggesting Nigel Farage acted as go-between between Assange and Roger Stone, part of the Trump campaign.

Long, but best to read in whole.

by Bjinse on Mon Mar 20th, 2017 at 08:43:21 AM EST
by generic on Mon Mar 20th, 2017 at 09:02:36 PM EST
No Sympathy for the Hillbilly - Frank Rich - Nymag

Democrats need to stop trying to feel everyone's pain, and hold on to their own anger.

Instead of studying how to talk to "real people," might they start talking like real people? ... Say in public what you say in private, even at the risk of pissing people off, including those in your own party.

... it's [another] thing for the Democratic Party [...] to waste time and energy chasing unreachable voters in the base of Trump's electorate. For all her failings, Clinton received 3 million more votes than Trump and lost the Electoral College by the mere 77,744 votes...

... While you can't blame our new president for loving "the poorly educated" who gave him that blank check, the rest of us are entitled to abstain. If we are free to loathe Trump, we are free to loathe his most loyal voters, who have put the rest of us at risk.

... it's not clear what such noble efforts yielded beyond a book, many happy memories of cultural tourism, and confirmation that nothing will change anytime soon. Her Louisianans will keep voting for candidates who will sabotage their health and their children's education; they will not be deterred by an empathic Berkeley visitor, let alone Democratic politicians.

... The toughest critics of white blue-collar Trump voters are conservatives. ... Raised in working-class West Texas, Williamson had no interest in emulating the efforts of coastal liberals to scale empathy walls. ... He chastises them for embracing victimhood by blaming their plight on "outside forces" like globalization, the Establishment, China, Washington, immigrants -- and "the Man" who "closed the factories down." He concludes: "Donald Trump's speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin."

... The most insistent message of right-wing media hasn't changed since the Barry Goldwater era: Government is inherently worthless, if not evil, and those who preach government activism, i.e., liberals and Democrats, are subverting America.

... There's no way liberals can counter these voters' blind faith in a huckster who's sold them this snake oil. ... Perhaps it's a smarter idea to just let the GOP own these intractable voters. Liberals looking for a way to empathize with conservatives should endorse the core conservative belief in the importance of personal responsibility. Let Trump's white working-class base take responsibility for its own votes ...

... So hold the empathy and hold on to the anger. ... if his administration crashes into an iceberg, leaving his base ... with no lifeboats, those who survive may at last be ready to burst out of their own bubble and listen to an alternative. Or not: Maybe ... they'll keep voting against their own interests until the industrial poisons left unregulated by their favored politicians finish them off altogether.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Mon Mar 20th, 2017 at 11:50:34 PM EST
Besides, if National Review says that their towns deserve to die, who are Democrats to stand in the way of Trump voters who used their ballots to commit assisted suicide?
I agree with the gist. We have entered the age of consequences. But I wouldn't count on those consequences to change a lot of minds. Look at all the gonzo red states, Arizona, Kansas etc. Change ain't coming, kookos keep doubling down. The blue areas will have to fight to keep their own.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 12:46:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Dems will keep doubling down in smugness. Not much effort was "lost" in keeping connection with those folks for decades.

Here are some picked-up cherries from National Review's Kevin Williamson:

Conservatism for Losers

Today's Democrats talk about the Republican-leaning parts of the United States as though they were particularly unsympathetic Third World countries, populated by people who not only lost life's lottery but deserved it [...]

The Democratic party has become positively snooty. The go-to criticism of Republicans today isn't that they are comfortable elites, but that they aren't [...]

The Democrats have become what the Republicans once were: the party of the respectable upper-middle class -- and of many of those who aspire to it. (The poor are for patronage and vote-farming.) They are, as the bourgeoisie always are, obsessed with social convention and etiquette (If a young white woman in college wears hoop earrings, is it "cultural appropriation"? [)...]

In neither party's case does this recent evolution constitute an improvement: It would be one thing if the Democrats had embraced their inner aristocrats with a decent and forthright spirit of public service rather than their current nastiness and stupidity, or if the newly class-conscious Republicans were proceeding as people who are (as Someone once put it) "poor in spirit," putting generosity of spirit rather than seething resentment at the center of their new concern for those at the margins of modern life. But that is not the case. The Democrats have become ordinary snobs of a particularly embarrassing variety, and the Republicans have become incontinent rage monkeys, looking for someone -- anyone -- to blame. They are much more interested in afflicting the comfortable than in comforting the afflicted.

by das monde on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 02:12:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For Frank Rich, "Bush and Gore were peas in a pod" in 2000. He is still full of it:
As polls uniformly indicate, nothing that has happened since November 8 has shaken that support.
Yeah, that is what Gallup uniformly indicates.
by das monde on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 02:42:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're letting him off the hook to easily. Here is what Vanity Fair has to say about the Love Story lie.
Times columnist Frank Rich followed it up. "What's bizarre," he wrote, "if all too revealing ... is not that he inflated his past but that he would think that being likened to the insufferable preppy Harvard hockey player Oliver Barrett 4th was something to brag about in the first place."
I'm not aware of Frank Rich peddling similar lies about Bush.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 04:43:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Rich must have been one of those well guided pundits. And still is. Hillary Clinton was so close, she needed to talk just a little with Rustbelt folks. The 2000, 2004 and 2016 were so perfect misses - every subtle bias and misstep were invaluable.
by das monde on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 06:13:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure.
You cannot hope to bribe or twist
(thank God!) the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
unbribed, there's no occasion to.
This probably applies to American journalists as well.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 06:44:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 07:23:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, but this is all to do with foreign policy. What would be the reason for them to intervene in favour of Bush over Gore?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 08:26:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Much of foreign policy is targeted for domestic consumption, with a niche for liberal rationalists. If I would know it more surely, would I want to tell you more?
by das monde on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 08:55:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What happens when you stare at the sun? | The Outline -
Lovecraftian monsters really do exist. There are vast burning demons, things from far beyond our tiny world, things that you can't even look at without going incurably mad. A being that is absolutely here but whose immenseness extends out into the cosmic distance of a fevered incomprehension. The ancients knew about it, all the way back to the grubby screaming infancy of the species. They killed in its name. Many of them even worshipped it. And then they all died, one after another, flashing into life and withering away again for tens of thousands of years -- but it lived on. There are billions of these things. There's one right there, up in the sky; it passes over our heads every day. The only way to stay sane under its light is to not look at it, to almost pretend that it doesn't exist. All the old rites and superstitions that once warded off mystical evils have been condensed into one single command, so vast and monolithic we've forgotten that it's even possible to disobey: Don't look directly at the sun.
by generic on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 07:29:18 AM EST
Did anyone see the french presidential debate?

Any reactions?

by fjallstrom on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 01:10:46 PM EST
I think it was mostly about Brexit.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 01:19:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope: it was mostly about domestic policy issues, like employment, education, crime, immigration, pensions etc... plus a bit of Europe & Russia.

Oh, and there was a burkini moment, of course, courtesy of Le Pen.

Surprisingly, the financial scandals like Penelopegate were hardly mentioned.

(Here, on the continent, it's not always about Brexit...)

by Bernard on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 07:23:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but if you read about it in the English-language press, it probably is.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 09:15:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No surprises in policies or debate skills? No abysmal or stellar performances likely to shift the race?
by fjallstrom on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 10:45:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I found myself falling asleep less than an hour in. It was all way too polite.

I checked afterward : Europe was practically not mentioned at all (except by Le Pen, to say we must free ourselves from it).

Hamon and Mélenchon were pretty convergent... except when they talked about the Middle East. So, on balance, it's probably best they didn't mention Europe.

(in the interests of converging before the elections... confirmation bias, i.e. my Twitter feed, tells me that this is still possible...)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 11:34:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The concensus in the press is that Macron won it. (This may conceivably be unrelated to the fact that, of the nine billionaires who own 95% of the French press, 6 are openly supporting Macron.)

Since he didn't mention any interesting policies of his own, he seems to have won it by nodding gravely when anyone except Le Pen made an interesting point.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 11:38:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems like the corporate media still can get a plurality to buy its bullshit. I remember when Macron was declared the favorite when all polls showed he wouldn't make it to the second round.

Out of curiosity: What was the difference of opinion about the Middle East you mention in your earlier post?

by generic on Wed Mar 22nd, 2017 at 10:20:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Méluche has generally been pro-Assad - that's probably putting it a bit strongly. Also, both he and Fillon are seen as pro-Russia.
Hamon is taking a militarist line, increase defense spending and European capabilities. Fairly orthodox PS on that front.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 22nd, 2017 at 11:06:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Landmark Milgram experiments on obedience recreated in Poland, with similarly horrifying conclusion
The research was conducted by psychologists from SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poland and published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. The scientists say they were keen to see how the results would look if they happened in Central Europe.
by das monde on Wed Mar 22nd, 2017 at 09:42:13 AM EST
Milgram's findings were recently (2010) confirmed in France, as well.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Mar 22nd, 2017 at 03:26:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dutch to English
Brexit (Dutch) = United Kingdom and Gibraltar European Union membership referendum (English)
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2017 at 10:12:41 AM EST
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2017 at 12:38:07 PM EST
by Bjinse on Wed Mar 22nd, 2017 at 12:57:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
compared to the frothings of brexiteers, that seems like a reasonable solution

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Mar 22nd, 2017 at 09:13:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Medium - Yonatan Zunger - From Russia, With Oil

In the past week, there have been several startling revelations about the investigations into Donald Trump, his closest allies, and their ties to Russia. Not only has the existence of two investigations, one by the FBI and one by the House Intelligence Committee, been confirmed, but there is increasing information as to just what is being investigated: an alleged deal for Trump to advance Russian interests as President in exchange for 19% of the Russian state oil company Rosneft and Russian intelligence assistance in winning the election.

This news has been spread over a tremendous number of articles and even Twitter threads, rather than in a single big headline. So today I would like to pull together all of these reports, and make it clear what things are known for certain, what things have been reported and sourced but not confirmed, and what things are still speculation.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 27th, 2017 at 12:20:37 PM EST
As usual Jim Wright has important things to say

Stonekettle Station - Jim Wright - Winning Civilization

They (Republicans) have broken government.

If they can't make government work when they control the entire government, they have broken government. Quod erat demonstrandum.

And if government is broken, the country is broken.

So, it's not enough to win the White House and it's about more than winning elections.

It's about getting shit done.

It's about a functioning government.

It's about a functioning country.

It's about civilization.

Listen to me: Fanatics tear down civilization, always. Fanatics thrive on chaos and disorder and war and destruction. They revel in it. Fanatics are the howling barbarians at the gate.

Fanaticism is the enemy of civilization.
For a nation, for civilization itself, to flourish, it's must go forward.

Winning the White House isn't enough.

Winning Congress isn't enough.

Winning the states isn't enough.

Winning isn't enough.

Civilization has to evolve.

Our country and our society must advance.

We can't keep going back and forth, swinging between liberals and conservatives. We can't keep going over the same ground. For civilization to advance it must build on its successes and learn from its failures. We can't keep fighting the same goddamned battles over and over.

Civilizations that don't advance?

They die.

By fire or by stagnation or by fragmentation, they die.

Every time.

Every. Time.

And the only way we go forward from this place we find ourselves at, is if both reasonable liberals and reasonable conservatives can find common ground, can compromise.  

Every time I quote Jim, I abuse fair use privilege (and he cares about that. A lot) But it's the only way I can show the gist of the arument he builds. Go read the whole thing, it's much better than the the fragment I x-posted.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 27th, 2017 at 02:04:12 PM EST
This ties in with another essay I read in Guardian

Guardian - Larry Elliot - Populism is the result of global economic failure

he rise of populism has rattled the global political establishment. Brexit came as a shock, as did the victory of Donald Trump. Much head-scratching has resulted as leaders seek to work out why large chunks of their electorates are so cross.

The answer seems pretty simple. Populism is the result of economic failure. The 10 years since the financial crisis have shown that the system of economic governance which has held sway for the past four decades is broken. Some call this approach neoliberalism. Perhaps a better description would be unpopulism.

Unpopulism meant tilting the balance of power in the workplace in favour of management and treating people like wage slaves. Unpopulism was rigged to ensure that the fruits of growth went to the few not to the many. Unpopulism decreed that those responsible for the global financial crisis got away with it while those who were innocent bore the brunt of austerity. Anybody seeking to understand why Trump won the US presidential election should take a look at what has been happening to the division of the economic spoils.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 27th, 2017 at 02:07:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In today's USA, please define "reasonable conservative" and exhibit one example.

One who is alive.

You may then reflect on how low the bar for reasonableness has become.

His post makes it look like this is a symmetrical problem. But Democrats, to the extent that they had radicalised (Sanders may change that), had done so rightwards, with swallowing free market dogma. Even the annoying political correctness excesses seem to be in the past, and they were never a civilisation blocking thing.

Democrats' first idea is not to keep Republicans out of power by any means. But Republicans would fight ANY bill from Obama. What will that "seeking common ground" achieve for Democrats exactly?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Mar 28th, 2017 at 08:44:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In today's USA, please define "reasonable conservative" and exhibit one example.


by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Mar 28th, 2017 at 09:01:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, agreed. But his post seemed to clearly equate conservatives with Republicans.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Mar 28th, 2017 at 09:51:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Asthis and his previous articles in this series demonstrates, he's not talking about the dyed in the wool Trump makes America grate people. But the peole who voted for jobs, people who want a government more concerned with their issues than Wall Sts, the ones who are beginning to realise they were conned.

All across the US there are hundreds of thousands, millions of people who voted Trump, but can be reasoned with, who can be brought over. But they need policies and a candidate they can identify with. No for President so much, but in their local area.

He talks of the great Red inland sea where democrats lose serially, even if not by much, simply because nobody tries. They are not aliens, they do not live on FOX, do not join the Tea party. They just think republicans are more believable at election time. Tehy're not called low-information voters for nothing.

But that doesn't mean the Dems should abandon them. Because otherwise, Democrats might as well give up. It's not enough to win the presidency every once in a while if Congress and the Senate are republican. There's no point winning a seat or the senate occasionally, if the state they come from is republican, cos they're always watching their back.

Vermont is a republican state. Practically every elected person there is a republican. And it returns Bernie Sanders to the Senate. Don't say it can't be done

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 28th, 2017 at 09:27:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, Democrats should not abandon the electors. But there is no way they should look for common grounds with the current elected Republican representatives until they massively change their positions.

As for Vermont, well, the last time it voted Republican in a presidential election was 1988. They now vote around 65% Democrat. Hardly a Republican stronghold...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Mar 29th, 2017 at 10:23:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, you don't compromise in the Senate or in Congress. That's a lsoiing strategy.

You don't compromise with the rabid redneck wearing a white sheet. But you find areas of shared concern with the people you work with, people you meet. Not to persuade so much as show you shre their concerns and are worried about the same thing. Except you have a different way of approaching it, dealing with it. That there's nuance.

You won't persaude 1 in 10 of them. But 1 in 50 is 2%, and most of the time that's plenty more than you need. If everyone does it

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Mar 29th, 2017 at 01:29:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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